Colors: Black; white
Battery life (rated): 9 hours; 27 hours (charging case)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (codecs: SBC, AAC, and aptX)
Water resistance: Yes (IP54 rated)
Size: 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.6 inches (earbuds + charging case)
Weight: 0.23 ounces (per bud); 1.47 ounces (charging case)
Sennheiser has launched its first-ever sporty wireless earbuds: the Sport True Wireless. Carrying the same drivers and sound settings as the flagship Momentum True Wireless 3, this model has the sonics, sturdiness, and stamina to make some of the best workout headphones break a sweat.
But as a newcomer, these buds require conditioning in specific areas. Comfort levels are hit or miss, depending on your pain threshold, and some of the sound features don’t exactly operate the way Sennheiser intended.
In the meantime, see how the Sennheiser Sport True Wireless compares to some of the category’s elite performers.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Price and availability
The Sport True Wireless can be purchased for $129 on Sennheiser’s website or at major online retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy. It comes in black or white. Inside the box are a charging case, USB-C charging cable, quick guide, four sets of different sized fins, three sets of different sized open ear tips, three sets of different sized closed ear tips, and a lanyard.
These buds face stiff competition from some of the best sport headphones in the mid-range class. Two that come to mind are the well-rounded Amazfit PowerBuds Pro ($142) with built-in fitness tracking and the impressive Jabra Elite Active 4 ($119).
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Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Design and comfort
The Sport True Wireless resembles the CX Plus: blocky and thick with minimal details. Out goes the glass-like touch panels for a completely plastic exterior. Sennheiser’s insignia is embossed in rose gold on the front. Rubberized fins are installed for increased stability. The IP54 rating also makes these buds dust, sweat, and splash resistant.
As for the charging case, it’s practically the CX Plus case, but with three noticeable differences. There is a hole on the side to loop the lanyard through. Notice the gold logo on the top. Then there’s the built-in closure in the back that seals off the charging port. It’s still stocky compared to the Elite Active 4 and PowerBuds Pro cases, but nothing too heavy or inconvenient to carry.
The assortment of tips and fins allows for optimal fit, accommodating listeners with smaller or larger ear shapes and locking the buds in place during workouts. Not once did they fall off or require adjusting on 5K runs.
Comfort wasn’t as pleasant as I would have liked. Wearing the buds for longer than 2 hours straight led to some soreness around the concha. The Elite Active 4 is comfier.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Controls and digital assistant
Listeners are given a variety of media controls that can be assigned to different input methods (single, double, triple, and long taps) in the companion app. These controls consist of playback, call management, digital assistance, and volume. Something odd about the control scheme is it doesn’t allow you to enable the Adaptable Acoustics modes (more on this later), yet there is an option to power the buds on/off.
Touch accuracy was decent with the panels registering tap gestures most of the time. These buds could have benefitted from auto-pause, but Sennheiser chose to leave it off the features list.
The digital assistant experience was very similar to the Momentum True Wireless 3. Sennheiser’s mic array demonstrated superb speech recognition when using Bixby, Google Assistant, and Siri, all of which picked up voice commands as quickly as they respond to them. However, like the Momentum True Wireless 3, Google Assistant was buggy. There were times when the feature lagged and took a few seconds to activate. On top of that, it stopped working any time I asked what my next event was. I had to disconnect and reconnect the buds to get the feature operating properly.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Sound quality
Sennheiser put serious effort into making these great-sounding sports buds. They boast 7mm drivers, aptX audio codec support, multiple sound settings, and a proprietary TrueResponse transducer. What you end up with is dynamic and lively sound perfect for fueling workouts.
The bass-driven groove on Rudimental’s “Spoons” raised my energy levels before a run. I felt the drums pounce on my eardrums, and the sparse bassline had some solid reverb that progressively traveled through the body. That same momentum carried over onto Rag’n’Bone Man’s “Human,” where the booming low end was impactful and well balanced, leaving just enough room to hear the percussive elements and soaring synths.
Sennheiser’s sound profile is fantastic on its own, but it can be personalized in multiple ways. The first is Sound Check, a creative tool that automatically tailors sound to your hearing through a listening test. There’s also the EQ to manually adjust bass, mid, and treble or pick from seven different presets: Rock, Pop, Dance, Hip Hop, Classical, Movie, and Podcast. Call me biased, but my Sound Check preset performed much better than Sennheiser’s selection. Some of theirs sounded almost identical to one another (Dance and Hip Hop), and the midrange was most balanced on my preset.
Several tracks were played across different music genres from Apple Music and Spotify. I was pleased with the streaming quality over Bluetooth 5.2 via aptX (Google Pixel 6 Pro) and AAC (MacBook Pro). The SBC codec is also supported.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Adaptable Acoustics
Another way Sennheiser broadened sound customization is with the Adaptable Acoustics feature, which works interchangeably with the bundled tips. There are two modes: Aware and Focus.
Focus was developed for use at the gym with the closed ear tips, isolating sound for fuller presentation. The COVID-19 pandemic and a toddler have kept me from entering any fitness centers, but I used the mode when exercising at home. It worked as intended and none of the distractions around the living room stopped me from performing push-ups and weightlifting. However, I wasn’t pleased with the considerable reduction in bass.
Aware attempts to be a more intricate version of ambient listening, but it fails. Its algorithm combined with the open ear tips is designed to “reduce body-borne noise,” meaning it blocks out sounds like your heartbeat or footsteps, while still letting you hear “more of your surroundings.” I’ve never heard my feet on runs when using other ambient listening modes.
This mode barely let in any external sounds, and it increased bass levels, which made it more difficult to hear what was happening outside. Sennheiser would have been better off employing the CX Plus’ Transparent Hearing mode.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Special features and app
Extended functionality runs through the Sennheiser Smart Control app. Most of the features I’ve discussed in detail are all accessible here, including control customization, Focus/Aware, Sound Check, and the Equalizer with multiple presets. All that remains is an Auto Power off function, battery level indicator, connections setting to see the list of previously paired devices, and toggles for several functions.
It's understandable why Sennheiser would forgo active noise cancellation (ANC) when factoring in the low price point. However, the ineffectiveness of Focus/Aware leaves exercisers wanting a true ambient listening mode.
These buds are also missing one of Sennheiser’s newer high-end features: Sound Zones. This allows you to tailor EQ settings to specific places and dynamically adjusts audio based on the location.
Something else missing is a Find My Buds function.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Battery life and charging case
You’re looking at some of the highest battery life for sports wireless earbuds: 9 hours per charge. This equals the Amazfit PowerBuds Pro and surpasses Jabra's Elite Active 4 (7 hours). I was fine with the four days of moderate use (2 hours daily) these buds provided before recharging.
The charging case holds up to 27 hours. As I always say, any case that comes with more portable power than the AirPods case (24 hours) is good in my book. A 15-minute quick charge nets you 1 hour of listening time.
The Sport True Wireless does not support wireless charging.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Call quality and connectivity
As a calling headset, the Sport True Wireless was acceptable. Voice and video calls came in loud and clear, and my wife mentioned that my voice sounded deeper than usual. Any conversations I had indoors offered satisfying results as long as there was minimal background noise; the mics capture a lot of ambient sound. Outside wasn’t so bad either, though the wind resistance on these buds is some of the worst I’ve tested.
Bluetooth 5.2 operates as it should: quickly and reliably. Connecting to devices was seamless. The buds would automatically pair to my last recognized device when opening the charging case. Range extended up to 40 feet, which is higher than what most wireless earbuds get you (est. 35 feet).
One-tap Google Fast Pair and multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously) are MIA.
Sennheiser Sport True Wireless review: Verdict
The Sport True Wireless is a noteworthy introduction for Sennheiser in the sports headphones category. It establishes the brand as a primetime player, backed by durable aesthetics, long battery life, personalized fit, and versatile sound.
Not everything is a home run. Sennheiser’s Adaptable Acoustics feature is not a suitable replacement for Transparency mode. The lack of popular wireless features (Find My Buds, multipoint technology, and wireless charging) doesn’t work in these buds’ favor either. At the same time, compromises were to be expected, especially at such a relatively affordable price point.
On that note, the Sport True Wireless stands out as a smart pick for audiophiles who want to kickstart their fitness journey on a high note.